AAUP Constituency Award

In 1989, Arthur Rosenthal, then Director at Harvard University Press, took the floor during the AAUP Annual Business Meeting to deliver an encomium for Maud Wilcox, Harvard’s retiring Editor-in Chief. It was both a thoughtful and an unprecedented gesture, and it struck several members of the AAUP Board. The Association was inspired to create a way to formally recognize the achievements of people in the AAUP community who were not press directors and who had nevertheless made significant contributions to scholarly publishing, like Maud Wilcox.

And so the Constituency Award was born, first given to Naomi Pascal at the Annual Meeting in 1991. Naomi was the Editor-in-Chief at the University of Washington Press; she had served on a number of AAUP committees, was a vigorous First Amendment champion, and one of the principal organizers of the then-annual Western Presses regional meeting. The next year the award went to Harry Van Ierssel, then CFO at the University of Toronto Press, who had systematized the AAUP Annual Statistics in the early ‘80s and who continued to prepare them until Kim Schmelzinger took them over in 2008. The AAUP Operating Statistics have long been considered the gold standard for publishing industry statistics, thanks to Harry.

The Constituency Award Honor Roll is a distinguished one. Press directors are not ineligible, but only two serving Directors have been given the award in its 20-year history, Sandy Thatcher (Penn State) and Seetha Srinivasan (Mississippi). In its original conception and through its history, the Constituency Award is only partly given for the work honorees have done for and through AAUP. That is a significant factor, but not a necessary one. The Association believes it is important for AAUP as a community to thank people who do good work for the common good of scholarly publishing.

The AAUP Constituency Award continues to honor staff at member presses who have demonstrated active leadership and service to the association and the university press community. It is awarded each year at the AAUP Annual Meeting.